Florida Messenger Association 0 – 60 … and More
ORLANDO, FL – Zero to sixty is traditionally the benchmark for performance cars. The same now can be said for the performance of the Florida Messenger Association.The FMA – originally established in 1989 – used to consist of a dozen members meeting for dinner at south Florida restaurants. While the group accomplished several agenda items throughout the nineties, activity waned during the past decade.Fast forward from 1989 to the present and some of those original members – whose companies are now bigger and stronger, with much more at stake – decided it was time to regroup. Spearheaded by Larry Schwartz, President of Baron Messenger Service of Miami, a meeting was called last June to discuss the reorganization of the FMA. It was attended by 25 individuals, mostly owners or principals from courier and transportation companies across the state.
In this era of economic and legislative uncertainty, many in the group felt that a well-informed and focused group would be critical to their business interests.The tentative idea of a few to jump start the group was met with resounding agreement by all, and the reinvigorated FMA convened in Orlando in September 2009. During that meeting, more than 60 attendees met to discuss exactly how to best capture the excitement of the “new” group and continue the momentum.While in Orlando, the following board members were elected by the general membership: President – Larry Schwartz, Baron Messenger Service of Miami; Vice President – Harold Boyett, Blue Streak Couriers of Jacksonville; Treasurer – Steve Howard, Esquire Express of Miami; Secretary – Rose Thomashow, Express Messenger Service of Boca Raton; and Members At Large Tim Petty, Pettyco Express in Jacksonville; Daryl Cook, Sonic Systems Inc in Tampa and John Amato, N-E Where Transport in Tampa.The winter meeting, concluded in Tampa in January, saw nearly 100 attendees from 70 member companies and related vendors. “I am very impressed with the level of professionalism and expertise offered by members of the FMA and am confident this group will continue to grow and accomplish great things,” said Schwartz.“The big picture for everyone involved is to ensure the viability of our industry by leveraging technology, sharing best practices and continually seeking more efficient methods of operation,” added Harold Boyett.“We could not have been more impressed with the meeting and the display of enlightened self-interest by FMA members. I hope FMA’s experience over the past six months can be effectively communicated to other industry associations on the state and even national level to boost participation and encourage volunteers,” said Peter Schlactus of KBS International.
The ensuing groundswell of participation and eagerness to continue the mission, especially from the political perspective, was evidenced by two recent trips.First, several FMA members visited Capitol Hill for meetings with the Florida Congressional and Senatorial delegation. The efforts were coordinated in conjunction with the Government Affairs Day conducted by the Messenger Courier Association of the Americas (MCAA).The purpose of the trip was to discuss pending legislation that could have a direct impact on the same-day transportation industry, which contributes billions of dollars to the national economy.“This was a tremendous opportunity for the group and it was definitely worth the investment of time and energy. I am confident that the discussion about our industry was well received,” said Schwartz.
In addition to Schwartz, other attendees from the FMA included Harold Boyett, John Benko, and Lance Dearborn.During the daylong visit, members of the FMA met personally with Rep. Gus Bilirakis and the legislative staff of fellow Florida Reps Ander Crenshaw, Alan Grayson, Kathy Castor, Vern Buchanan and Kendrick Meeks. Meetings were also held with representatives of Senators Bill Nelson and George Lemeiux.“It was amazing to spend the day visiting with members of the legislative branch of our government. Everyone in Washington welcomed our group and truly wanted to hear about our industry,” said Harold Boyett, Vice President of the FMA. “This was my first time attending this annual event and I am incredibly enthusiastic about how the day progressed. I strongly encourage everyone in the FMA to make the trip in the future.”
The second trip saw some of the same members – along with others – participate in the state of Florida’s Lobby Day, Thursday April 15, 2010. “After being with members of the FMA in Tallahassee and Washington, it is very clear to me that we’ve really started something big,” said Schwartz. Plans are being made now to conduct the next FMA meeting in conjunction with the MCAA’s Executive Leadership Series in Hollywood, FL in the fall of 2010.“I wouldn’t say we’re at top speed quite yet, but we’re certainly not content in setting the cruise control either,” quipped John Benko of Manko Delivery Systems of Tampa.The mission of the Florida Messenger Association is to improve and advance the common business interests of messengers, couriers, and transportation services, and their companies in the State of Florida for the benefit of the public need for such services. Please visit our website, https://www.floridamessenger.org/
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